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Local fallen firefighters honoured at ceremony in Ottawa

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Three local firefighters were remembered at the annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Ottawa Sunday.

In a stark reminder of the wildfires burning across the country and those who put their lives on the line to battle the flames, a made-in-Canada water bomber flew overhead during the ceremony.

Kitchener firefighter Michael Pierce, Brantford Platoon Chief Gary Stockdale and Brantford Deputy Fire Chief Robert Ruttan were honoured during Sunday’s event.

Of the 86 firefighters memorialized, 81 died as a result of occupational illnesses like cancer.

“We know that the extreme exposure to the toxic chemicals in these intense and frequent wildfires will have a negative impact on these first responders in the future,” House of Commons Deputy Leader Sherry Romanado said. “Today, as we gather here beside this powerful monument on La Bretton Glats, we honour 86 firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Two Canadians have been killed fighting wildfires in British Columbia this year, while two other firefighters were killed battling wildfires in Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

"We still are fighting fires across Canada and an unfortunate impact of that exposure is we expect to see more illness amongst the firefighters who are responding," said Sherry Romanado, Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. "We are going to need ot make sure folks are supported and taken care of."

Flags across the country were lowered in honour of Firefighters National Memorial Day.

The Canadian Firefighters Memorial Ceremony at LeBreton Flats in Ottawa. Eighty-six firefighters were honoured during the annual service on Sunday. (Shaun Vardon/CTV News Ottawa)

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